You create a new word
right after dinner
and send it out to play.
It begins with a “C”
and starts out strong
but soon trips over its own round foot
and falls down the stairs
in a heap. You bend to pick it up
and cradle it to your bosom,
rocking it while it weeps. Chagrined,
you change its name
to something that begins with “E”
and suddenly, it has survived the fall
unscathed. Now, transpose
its central letters and what happens
to its story? Nothing has happened
at all, it never fell.
Isn’t this fun?
Creating new words
that mean nothing
until you give them voice?
You can’t even pronounce
these things but they’re alive
because you breathed them.
It’s a nice power to have.
You can do this as well, you know,
with those you claim to love —
say their names as if you were in charge,
remove everything that has hurt them
from those sounds, even change the names
themselves if they carry too much weight;
and if that’s too much, if the only safety
you can offer is to give them new names
in a language you can’t speak, you learn it
as fast as you can, practicing
the words where no one can hear you,
because love is always a language
invented in secret and held there
until you have strength to let it out.